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Livingstone tours Royal Festival Hall

London SE1 website team

The Mayor of London toured the building works at the Royal Festival Hall and National Film Theatre on Thursday as part of an all-day visit to Southwark and Lambeth.

A pensive Ken Livingstone views Jubilee Gardens and his old HQ at County Hall from the western terrace of the RFH

The Mayor has pledged 6.6 million towards the transformation of the Royal Festival Hall, which closed for refurbishment last summer and will reopen in June 2007.

The flagship concert hall will have improved acoustics, state of the art facilities for performers and improved comfort and access for the millions of visitors who use it.

"The transformation of the South Bank Centre, with the newly refurbished Royal Festival Hall as its centrepiece, will give London the truly world-class cultural quarter it deserves," said the Mayor. "Apart from being a state-of-art facility that will attract visitors from all over the world, it will also add to the regeneration of the local area. It is important that multipurpose facilities like this, which cater to the needs of the local community are supported, which is why we have provided over six million pounds to the project."

After touring the Royal Festival Hall the Mayor paid a visit to the adjacent National Film Theatre, itself currently undergoing renovation to transform the space formerly occupied by the Museum of the Moving Image into a new public foyer and exhibition space with new education facilities and a cafe.

This week's visit marked an improvement in the relationship between the Mayor and the management of the South Bank Centre. Last year, at the height of the recently settled dispute between the SBC and the London Eye, the Mayor called for control of the South Bank arts complex to be passed to City Hall.

Earlier in the day the Mayor had visited a clean-up project in Lambeth and the Faraday Safer Neighbourhood Team in Southwark.

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